To reduce a day like this to a few hundred words is a bit of a challenge. Not that our life's anything to complain about -- its justthat, for a musician, it seems to exist purely in the extremes: either too busy or too bored to tears. For the two days leading up to today, we were basically trapped at an under construction Holiday Inn in a virtually underwaterCharlotte, N.C. -- not anyone's idea of excitement! And when we finally reach show day, there's a flash flood watch in effect. This might lessen the turn-out just a bit -- why do these things follow us around? This was also our first day with Maypole (nice bunch of people), who we'll be touring with for the next month. The 100 or so brave souls that did show up were a good crowd that really got into the show and despite all odds we had a ball.
The next day things get started a little early when we get together at 10:00 a.m. for breakfast -- everyone is a little slow (not toounusual!) but functional, not too surprising considering we didn't get to sleep until 3 or 4 a.m. The hotel shuttle bus takes us to the airport for a flight to New York where we're playing on a taping of MTV's Oddville (cool but weird!). Of course, we're concerned about the weather. Charlotte has received over a foot of rain in the last day and a half, so delays seem likely.
However, it seems that luck is on our side, as we board the plane right on time, but it's short-lived -- the pilot announces thatthere's some bad weather over NYC and we won't be leaving for another hour. So, as usual, that leaves us with *no* time to spare, and requires a mad dash through LaGuardia. Picture a gang with guitars that keeps knocking over business commuters at random -- not a pretty sight.
A van drives us to the studio in afternoon rush hour traffic. I suppose this is karmic payment for our actions at the airport, sincethe driver is the only one who seems unaware of our imminent death. We arrive with about five minutes to spare, set up and sound check on unfamiliar rental gear and of course, one of the pieces of gear that I brought decides that yesterday was it's lastday on the job. Oh well, it's too late to do anything about it, so I'll just do without. During the taping of the first part of the show, we barely get the chance to put on a clean shirt in time to play at the end. We're intro'd and proceed to play a four-and-a-half minute song in three-and-a-half minutes because that's all the time we're allowed.
As we play I notice the "the amazing cross-eyed family" and assorted characters (including some guy in a monkey suit) dancing on the other part of the set. The irony of this is that the song, "Superman's Dead" from our album "Clumsy," is about the loss ofheroes and role models in the media, in favor of cheap titillation. Hmmm ... the message may have been a little diluted ... d'you think?
Day 2 - July 25 - Greensboro, S.C.
After the show we're hustled back into the van of doom and back to the airport from where we fly to Greensboro S.C. and then drive to Winston/Salem. We arrive at about 10:45 p.m., giving us an hour to spare before we go on stage to do a full set. The club is packed and the show is a blast -- hot, sweaty and loud -- the three best things about club shows. After our set, we hang out a bit and say hi to some kids and generally crash. Then we drive overnight to Charleston, S.C. for the next day, which we have off.
So in three days we will have had two days in one place for one show, and one day that encompassed five cities and two shows. Yeah, this is what we always wished we could do -- but when do we get to sleep?
Our Lady Peace relies on the kindness of strangers
Day 3 - July 29th - New Orleans
On Tuesday I awoke to the sounds of our sound man (Roger) saying that we had to get off the bus if we did not want to be locked in the compound for the day. I remember thinking at that point: Compound? This can't be good. As it turned out, we had arrived at the hotel in New Orleans and it was only a locked parking lot we were in -- no Kool-Aid, no big deal.
We were to play The House of Blues that night so we set off for the French Quarter at about 2 p.m. The club was actually really cool with a kind of old theater vibe to it; plus there was a sort of voodoo shrine thing set up in the dressing room. This was also the first time in a while that we were playing a venue with a pro sound system in it.
The show was being presented by KKND and billed as a listener appreciation night. The only way for fans to get tickets was through a contest. I guess it was around 4 p.m. when we went to the station to do an acoustic performance and it was shortly after that that they offered the last set of tickets to the first person to show up with -- get this -- a tire, a Pez dispenser (with Pezin it), a toilet seat, a pink flamingo and an Our Lady Peace CD.
After they announced that crazy list, we played a couple of songs live and by the time we were done there were these twopeople bringing all of that stuff into the control room! We never did see the toilet seat because it was an old used one in a box so we deemed it wise to take the guys word for it. Oh yeah, note this: lemon Pez from a C3-P0 dispenser is pretty cool.
We were also told about the piss off the commuter contest where a listener had to call the station on a cell phone and make atleast ten people honk at them. I guess some guy took it upon himself to stop in the middle of the highway, get out of his car and start yelling at people. No doubt (not the band) he was at the show.
The show itself was really cool. There were 1,300 people crammed into the venue who were really into it. The only downer was that in the backstage area they have a wall of fame (so to speak), but what it really is is a list of performers who have soldout The House of Blues. Just as we were introduced, I looked up and saw (and sorry if I offend anyone with this) Sinbad -- man, what a nauseating experience that was. After the show we headed off for Bourbon Street, only to find that on that particular night it was kind of quiet, so we bailed, went back to the hotel, had a swim and called it a night.
Day 4 - July 30th - New Orleans
A few of us decided to take in some of the sights so we went off on a tour of the Bayou. We were promised close encounters with alligators and lots of other wildlife. The guide found some gators and picked up a nine-footer on the end of a pole not more than a few feet from me. I guess it's kind of funny that I had no trouble trying blackened gator that night at dinner. Later,some of the other guys went on a haunted ghost tour of the city and said it was pretty cool. Days off are rare to us and when we have them they go by pretty quickly, so the next thing I knew I was answering a 7 a.m. wake-up call and we were headed for Texas. That's all for now.
OUR LADY PEACE(Sept. 2, 1997)
Sparks fly leaving Our Lady in pieces
Day 5 - August 5 - Oklahoma City
We've just had a bus change and Kevin (the tour manager) and Duncan (the bass player) are molten mad at Raine (the singer),Mike (the guitar player) and I. It seems we didn't help the poor fellas move enough gear! Well, I for one take this opportunity to apologize.
Anyway, after that stuff was all finished, I started to get a little bored so I decided to take on the position of "stir it up guy" (awell-known figurehead posture) in the OLP camp and got into a small arsenal of fireworks that had taken residence in my bag (just in case of a rainy day). I then went on to show my wares to Raine and realized from the sparkle in his eye, I need not even pick up a match. I had an accomplice.
We then needed a victim and Mike just happened to walk into the hotel room to use the bathroom (which is the world's best place to spark up one's peaceful moment with a lady finger or two, look it up if you don't believe me). Raine then took the opportunity to arm himself and foolishly try the "stuff it under the door after you light it technique." Next thing you know, Mike has barely sped up his natural bowel movement and Raine has the bells of St. Mary's ringing in his head with a black thumb to boot! Foiled!
Luckily, Lonnie (our guitar technician) needed a fresh towel for the pool. We told him there was one in the bathroom (there wasn't), and this time Raine was armed with about 35 lady's on a string. He lit them and dropped them on his feet, burned his legs, then rolled backwards like an orangutan on crack while Lonnie watched laughing. I then ran from the room and hid on the bus whilst Raine tried fanning the smoke away from the fire alarm that had gone off. Foiled again!
Next up came Duncan. Don't forget our friendly bass playing buddy is in a (very rare for him) sour mood. Raine collected thelast of the little lady's and put them in a real Bronx bomber with the help of a handy dandy twist tie and while Duncan was on the phone, Raine cleverly (practice makes perfect) put the crackers in a paper bag next to Dunky's head. Seconds later Dunk comes running onto the bus screaming at the top of his lungs (we were the only ones that could hear him; he certainly couldn't.)
After all that madness it was time for load in. We were scheduled to do an acoustic show for this cool station, KNRX, at theBoars Head and on our way, we heard from our Columbia promo rep Ray (spin getter and all around regular guy), that The Artist was performing in town. We all realized that this show was a necessity see, after all, it is that guy Prince! Luckily, weweren't on until midnight, so we could see God perform. People, I've seen a lot of shows for a kid my age (22), but this one was some serious schooling. This man does not kid around. Just go see this show -- the jam of the year tour!
Finally after being a little bit humbled, we finally got on stage around 12:30 a.m. We plowed through an hour set and still had anenormous amount of fun, even after 600 or so times through it. By the way, thank you if you attended (anyone from Oklahoma City). And that is all I have to say about that! Well, goodnight.
OUR LADY PEACE(Sept. 9, 1997)
Story of 100 Aisles
Our Lady Peace lets off steam at Canada's Edgefest
Day 6 - August 29 - Edmonton, Alberta
Well, it has been a little while since we've spoken, so I guess we've got some catching up to do. This last little while has beenmore of the same, and with that in mind, I think our record company is trying to kill us. Not maliciously or anything, just by accepting every available event, no matter how geographically inconvenient it is for us.
Without belaboring the point -- and sounding like a whining idiot -- we've been on six flights in four days. There was barelyenough time to do the three shows that were scheduled, one of which was on a boat in Boston. That's right -- on a boat. As I've said before, we live in a world of extremes, either bored to tears or manic in our movements. Of course, there are the sort of days that we complain bitterly about (more whining!) and then there are days we'll remember long after the memories of excessive travel have faded. We just completed the western leg of our "Edgefest" tour (sorry about the redundant name), and this more than offset any of the difficulties of the past.
The shows had a festival setting with two stages and music all day (talk about value for your concert dollar!). The lineup for theA stage started with The Philosopher King, a cool Canadian band on the R&B/hip-hop tip. Very smooth and a great way to start the day. Next up was an English band called Dodgy that America seems to have overlooked so far. After the Brits came the Aussies, in the form of Silverchair. It's all too apparent that these guys are very young, because only the young have that much energy! And a tolerance for volume almost to the point of pain. Then we were punished by the ridiculously strong and potent I Mother Earth.
As a band, these guys are among the strongest musicians I have ever seen. It really is important to see this band live in order tounderstand the musical integrity they possess. Their guitarist, Jag, is truly gifted, as is the rest of the band. In the unenviable position of following IME were the gentlemen of Collective Soul. The beauty of a show like Edgefest was that there was never a sense of competition between the bands. If anything, there was a real sense of camaraderie and even inspiration at each other's achievements. At any one time, you were likely to see at least half of the musicians on the tour at the side of the stagewatching the bands that were on at the time. Collective Soul rocked, pure and simple. They even included a cover of Ozzy's "Crazy Train" that went over great. I guess we can all admit to knowing that song at the very least.
Following Atlanta's favorite sons were the Tea Party. The Tea Party are a Canadian band that have been plagued by comparisons to Led Zeppelin and the Doors because of the the playing style and physical appearance of their lead singer/guitarist, Jeff. Their new record should go some way toward dispelling this reputation, as it features some new sonic experiments. After a day like this, we were honored to be the last band playing. We're also in the unbelievable (for us, anyway) position of being in the Top Ten at home in Canada for the last 7 months. Suffice it to say that we were blown away by the response. It truly was the highest of highs for all of us -- without a doubt the high spot of our lives to date. If anyone who was atany of these shows is reading this, I would like to take this time to humbly offer you my honest thanks.
I love playing in small venues; there really is no comparison to looking out on 20,000 people who are looking right back at you!Not that one is better than the other, it's just that they're so different that they can't be compared.
We had the chance to hang out with all of the bands in the backstage area and there were enough stories there to entertain forquite some time, but not right now. On our one night off, the promoter was kind enough to rent a local bar in Edmonton and provide an open bar and loads of food. The tragic oversight on the promoter's part was to invite not only the bands but all of the road crews as well. So all of the guitarists were in a corner talking about gear, the drummers were in a knot talking rhythm -- you get the picture. This left the crew more room to get to the bar at the promoter's expense.
While there's a great temptation to name names and tell stories, it's probably enough to say that at least one road manager ended up face down on a table. As much as I have always been pleased that the storied days of excess are, for the most part, the stuff of legend, sometimes these sorts of antics are necessary to relieve the tensions that can build up on the road. When thebar closed, we merely moved up the street to another bar's private room, where the musos kept talking and the crew kept up the more rock & roll end of things. As a matter of fact, the tour accountant apparently had a lot of tension to release. I supposeit really does let down the image of road musicians when an accountant out-rock-&-rolls most of the bands!
As you might guess, the bulk of the people at the venue the next day were ...fragile? Especially the accountant, who looked likehe had donated five or six pints of blood the previous day. But the crowd made up for any shortfall in the energy department; when you get the energy of that many people in one place, you might have not slept in a week and they'll get you through the show! So once again, I thank the people who make us the lucky goofs we are.
Once that leg was over, we were graced with three whole days off at home! This was allegedly a rest for us, but it was reallybarely a chance to do laundry and re-pack. Then it was off to Boston to play on a small boat. I guess the boring part is around the next corner ... or at least a nap.
OUR LADY PEACE(September 18, 1997)
Our Lady Peace stumbles through the Much Music Video Awards
Day 7 - September 27 - Washington, D.C.
We're about an hour away from playing the Blocktober Fest for WHFS in downtown Washington. They closed off the streets right down by the F.B.I. building and we're playing one of the three stages set up. I'll update you later about the gig once we'vefinished playing it.
Just a few minutes ago while I was firing up the computer, Mike and Pat (two guys from HFS) came in and asked Mike (Turner, that is) and me to cut a few liners for the station, but enough of the mundane stuff. I want to tell you about our time atthe Much Music Video Awards, which took place a few weeks ago in Toronto.
For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, Much Music is basically the Canadian equivalent of MTV and theiraward show is very different from other award shows, except it, too, is incredibly f---ing long! The show is actually held at the Much Music studios and the vibe is more like a big party, rather than an organized television program. We were nominated for a few awards and ended up winning two. The problem was that the awards that we won were presented at the end of the show just before we were slated to perform and the first one -- People's Choice Best Video -- was being presented on the opposite side of the building from where we were about to play live.
After we got the award, we were supposed to go straight to the stage on the other side of the building, but I thought this wouldbe a good time to try and go to the can. On my way back to the stage, after an unsuccessful attempt at relieving myself (the line was too long), I rushed back to join the rest of the guys -- you see, I hadn't told them what I was up to -- and as I made my way to the stage I heard, "... and the winner is ... Our Lady Peace!"
The next thing I knew I was being yanked up on another stage to accept the award for People's Choice Best Group. Okay, soat that point all I could think was: a) where are the rest of the guys? and, b) what award is this anyway? Somehow I managed to guess what it was for and I think I pulled it off without looking too much like a goof. I then finally made it to the stage,rejoined my band mates and played "Superman's Dead" to end the show. I guess, all in all, it was pretty cool, but now we have to go do this HFS set.
(A few hours later) Okay, back again. The show was pretty cool, except for the fact that a big fight broke out and Rainehandled the situation fairly astutely -- he basically just asked the crowd to vote for the fight or for the music.
The music won!
OUR LADY PEACE (October 10, 1997)
Day 8 - October 6 - Las Vegas, Nevada
Life is so terribly tragic in the rock & roll world. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Las Vegas!
Let me begin by telling you that I lost 200 bananas, but I did have a good day of granny watching! Boy, can they throw in theol' coins! Raine won a grand, Dunk won 600 clams and Mike led the suckers and closed shop down about 300 bones. We stayed at the Hard Rock casino and played a place called the Joint inside the casino. More specifically, it was a convention type show and that always makes it more of a challenge to win over the crowd.
We began the day with two acoustic radio performances -- the first at KEDG and the second at KXTE -- that both went extremely well. Everyone was so pleasant, must be the desert air. Raine's voice was getting a little tuckered, so he decided that betting on the Denver Broncos would loosen up the ol' throat strings. Luckily, the Broncos beat the spread and crushed the Pats by 14 points. However, he also bet the Yankees would beat the Indians!
After the radio performances came sound check and I'm still trying to get over this stomach flu that I can't seem to shake, somy belly was singing "Hocus Pocus" by Focus during "Naveed" and "Superman's Dead." After my stomach check, I decided to take a break and take in a little Wu-Tang before donating more of my hard earned money to the slot gods.
Next up was the strip -- boy, oh, boy -- they certainly didn't spare a dime on New York, New York! Two words: De-luxe! Except they don't have those claw games -- you know, the ones where you can pick up high-end watches and such -- they have it at the Lex Luthor, or whatever that wacky pyramid deal is called. The fellas tried desperately to get me on this death trap of a rollercoaster on the roof -- no thanks, doc! On our way back to do the show, I saw this special slot machine out of the corner of my eye, so I told Dunk that he had to play her (at this point Dunk was down 200 cans). She was called "Crazy Eyes" and sure enough he slipped in a buck and out flowed 100 back (from which I collected my usual 10 percent finders fee).
I thought I had crazy eyes when we got to the gig and realized that the Village People were our opening act. Sometimes life canthrow you a curve and it's up to you to hit it or step into the pitch and take one in the gonads. We stepped in, took one in the nuts and stole three bases. Come on everyone ... "HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! MACHO, MACHO MAN!"
OUR LADY PEACE (October 15, 1997)
P.S. Just 'cause you see Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin on a slot machine, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll win anything. These machines seem to be extra fixed in the casino's favor.
No moshing, no surfing, no Our Lady Peace
October 27, 1997
We have played in excess of 500 live shows. We've played in front of anywhere from 40 to 40,000. You'd think that in playing that many shows and in front of that many people, you'd tend to see just about everything.
Due to the nature of our music, stage diving and crowd surfing have become the norm at our shows. We've seen countless injuries because of this, but realize it has simply become a part of "alternative" music. Because we've also experienced shows where people have broken their necks, arms or backs, we understand why some of the places we play have strict rules about both stage diving and crowd surfing. Ultimately, the venue owner is responsible for any injury that occurs while we're on stage, so we understand why some places are more strict than others.
Springfield, Missouri was nothing like this. We had never done a show in Springfield, but we assumed it was like most smalltowns in the Midwest: laid-back and a touch more conservative than most. Conservative, though, cannot come close to describing what we experienced in Springfield.
Everything seemed fine during the day. The alternative station, Channel Z, was sponsoring the show and had set up a live broadcast from the venue. They gave away posters and we did an interview and then signed autographs for about an hour. The two opening bands played and we waited in our dressing room for Kevin, our road manager, to come bring us on stage. In other words, a pretty normal day in the life of Our Lady Peace.
We finally began our set at about 10 o'clock and the crowd seemed excited but a little restrained. They had never seen us before so we figured they were just easing into it. There were probably about 20 security guards, all decked out in their brightyellow jackets, but this wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It all seemed relatively normal until about halfway through the show I noticed that the crowd seemed frustrated. We played a couple more songs and it became apparent that no one was crowd surfing. There was no one moshing. There was no one moving. I finally stopped and asked what the hell was going on. Someone near the front yelled, "We're not allowed to surf! If we even so much as touch each other, they'll kick us out."
Apparently some fans had already been kicked out by security and the rest of the crowd was too scared of the same consequences. This was unbelievable! We had never played a show where they weren't allowed to so much as touch each other! I became irate and told security that this was unacceptable and that the fans were either allowed to have fun or we would walk off. We started into "Superman's Dead" and all of a sudden it turned into a real show. The security guards began to panic, but I kept reminding them to stay behind the barricade and leave the fans alone. We then played "Starseed" and as soon as we started I knew we were in trouble.
All of a sudden, I noticed police officers appearing. Halfway through the song, I counted 14! We finished the song and withhardly saying good-bye, ran off the stage. There were two officers waiting for us at the side of the stage, but they didn't expect us to be running. Kevin was well aware of what was going down. He went ahead and organized a van to sneak us out. He guided us straight to the van and while we were leaving, we watched the police enter our tour bus. Needless to say, we weren't on it and therefore, no arrests were made, but I don't think we'll be back to Springfield any time soon.
OUR LADY PEACE(October 27, 1997)